TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Russia’s defense ministry said on Tuesday that more than 40,000 civilians who had fled Syria’s eastern Ghouta have returned, Interfax agency reported.

In the past 24 hours, 1,123 militants and their families have left the town of Douma in eastern Ghouta, Interfax citied the Russian Ministry of Defense.

From the start of the humanitarian pause’s introduction in eastern Ghouta, 2,269 militants and their families left Douma, the largest urban center in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, the ministry said.

Militants had been using the area to launch incessant rocket attacks on the capital. Backed by Russian airpower, the Syrian army has been trying to liberate the countryside to both spare the capital from the attacks and liberate thousands of other trapped civilians, whom militants have been using as human shields.

Eastern Ghouta has now been almost fully liberated with the exception of the town of Douma.

Recently, Moscow brokered an agreement between the militants based there and the government, enabling the former’s safe exit to Jarabulus, a militant-held town in northern Syria.